Supporting Climate Change And Atmospheric Research At Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions

This initiative, “Supporting Climate Change And Atmospheric Research At Canadian Post‐Secondary Institutions,” creates the program for new funding for climate change and atmospheric research announced in Budget 2011. Funding allocated through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) will be targeted to support research under three themes that will advance a better understanding of, and an ability to predict changes in, the climate and atmospheric system.

Overall, the environmental effects of this new funding initiative will be realized through the transfer of knowledge produced by the research projects to the users of this knowledge as decision‐makers in priority areas related to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Given that all environmental impacts of this initiative are positive, no mitigation measures are necessary. Positive effects will be enhanced through the building of strong networks and though effective communication of results to users, which are both key elements of this initiative. Furthermore, the program targets priority areas in the field of climate change and atmospheric research and focuses efforts on developing links between universities and governments, where much of the new knowledge will be used.

By analyzing the proposed initiative in terms of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals and targets, it was found that several of the anticipated results of this initiative will contribute to the achievement of the FSDS Target 1.1 related to climate change mitigation. In particular, the research conducted under this initiative will provide some of the foundational knowledge required as part of the implementation strategies for the Clean Air Agenda, as well as for international work on climate change.

In addition, the initiative will contribute, to a lesser degree, to the FSDS target related to air pollutants (Target 2.1). Depending on the nature of the specific projects selected for funding, the initiative may also contribute to other targets related to water availability. Furthermore, many of the positive anticipated effects will be focused on the North, where vulnerability to environmental change is greatest and where environmental knowledge and data are currently lacking.

It has been found that, overall, the basic scientific knowledge developed through this initiative will have broad and positive, but indirect, environmental impacts. This complements other federal initiatives underway and is particularly related to climate change mitigation as a key FSDS theme.